Thursday, March 17, 2016

Baby Dogs and Baby Babies: A day in the life

 Found this draft post from almost two years ago....hard to believe how far we have come!!!!! this was from the first few days with is our journal after his first month I need to do a new one for now that we have William added in!

So now that Jaune has been with us for four days and he is pretty fully integrated into the family what do our days look like?

6am - Jaune wakes up and I take him and Reyna out for morning potty break. They are allowed about 15minutes to romp and explore the yard together provided both of them respect the other. The very gradual introductions means that they have slowly gotten used to each other's play style and each is learning to trust the other. Jaune is learning to trust that when Reyna moves quickly she is not going to stomp him, and Reyna is learning to trust that when she has had enough puppy bites Jaune will respect her body language and check himself. If either one looks like they will break that contract I am nearby with high value treats to call them for sits and downs.

6:15 - Breakfast on mats for both dogs, husband let's cat out of her crate for breakfast while dogs are occupied...Jaune and Feather are getting along great, but it is harder for him to disengage from her than from Reyna so we monitor their interactions even closer to pick him up if he gets locked in.

6:30 - The kids get up, Feather goes outside, Reyna goes into her crate or onto the porch so we can turn our attention to getting ready for the day and making breakfast etc without so many furry variables in the mix. Jaune gets lots of kibble bits for sitting calmly during human breakfast prep and kids running back and forth down the hall to get dressed

7am - Potty break for Jaune, I leave for work

7am-5:30pm - Norm goes about his daily life, if the kids are calm and listening well both the dogs get to roam the gated section of the house or be outside with the family, if the kids are a little wild Reyna is separated out on the screened porch or her crate in my room, and Feather stays outside, if the kids are insane both dogs are in their crates. The day consists of indoor chores/play, outdoor chores/play, errand running giving. Jaune a chance to practice being crated while we leave for short period, naps for everybody and all broken up by regular puppy potty trips. The kids have learned that if Jaune goes for their ankles they should stand still and cross their arms, if he doesn't let go they should call for help. They are always supervised 100% of the times with Jaune, but you never know and we don't want them to panic.

5:30pm - Reyna and Jaune eat dinner as part of calm mat training

5:30-7:30pm - Depending on the energy level of the house Reyna is out and everybody is randomly rewarded for calm behavior, but we always have crates to fall back on if we need some peace.

7:30 - One parent gets kids ready for bed, other parent takes both dogs out for some training and play

8:00 - Reyna gets to go for a walk without the puppy

8:30-10pm - Jaune gets lots of play and chew toys and potty breaks. Reyna is generally in her crate during this period.

10pm - Jaune in his crate for the night after a final potty break and. Reyna is out, she will usually sleep in her crate anyway, but she has earned the right be loose in the house

During this whole time Jaune is learning the rules of house, he is rewarded for sitting for petting, for not chasing children, sitting to go out, sitting to come in, laying down quietly in general, ignoring the cat, coming when called, staying out of the playroom, pottying outside, going in his crate on his own etc. qWe are not using any cues yet, just capturing offered behaviors so they become defaults, he has his whole life to learn shaped behaviors.

If you haven't noticed there is still a lot of management going on, this is having a puppy two kids (soon to be three and an older dog who can get grumpy...welcome to our new world :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New K9 Nosework Kit!!!!

Hurray...Just finished building our new scent kit for Nosework! In case you are wondering....

I buy the oils straight off Amazon and have been very happy with them for the past 4 years. I use Nature's Kiss brand, but I think as long as you get the scientific name right off the NACSW website and it's 100% pure you should be fine. I liked that brand because when you take the top off the jar has a built in dropper on it. I have not had to replace vials of oils!

Tins and q-tips and containers were a different story, they were was time to take my pile of glass baby food jars, re-purposed mason jars,  and jam jars and revamp my whole collection.

I have a toddler so I got rid of the rare earth magnets and switched to quake hold putty (also from Amazon)'s not as convenient on metal items as the magnets were, but I feel safer not having rare earth magnets in the tins, and now I can stick hides to just about anything!

I bought new jars...the baby food jars worked great, but I wanted a uniform look and plastic instead of glass. Glass holds odor better, but the plastic doesn't shatter when my toddler gets a hold of it and throws it (he's REALLY fast!!!).

Next came the hides themselves...I prefer the slide tins the best, the are slim and don't need holes punched in them, but sometimes a lip balm tube really is better so I bought 4 of each of these:

Slide Tins

Lip Balm Tubes

I just saw the lip balm tubes also come in oval....super cool! I probably would have gone with those if they had had them at the time....oh well, they're cheap if I decide to replace them :)

I love the Elements website because it's super cheap, shipping is very fast and reasonable priced, but mostly they have NO minimums of any order...I could literally order one slide tin if I wanted and it gets to the Atlanta area in 2 days! They are my only source for containers....can't say enough about how happy I am with their company!

Then lastly I bought waterproof labels...again Elements! No minimum I don't have to buy a whole pack of labels just one sheet. You probably already have these at home.

Now what to store it all in???

Enter the Pelican Case $29 on sale and absolutely awesome. I was able to customize the inserts however I wanted and it fits everything...three odor vials, three jars of q-tips and straws, 4 lip balm containers (1 for each odor and 1 for a combo) 4 slide tins (1 for each odor and 1 combo) and a slot for the quakehold (still wrapped in paper of course.

Here is the finished product...

I've been using it for a few weeks now and cannot tell you how much I am enjoying it. When William gets older I may switch back to glass jars and put magnets back in the tins, but I will still keep the quakehold regardless...awesome stuff and completely reusable. Now I just grab and go and I have set up to 5 search areas and never have to stop and sniff the tins to get them back in the correct jar anymore!!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Canicross with Reyna and Jaune

In case you ever wanted to know what it feels like to run canicross with a two dog team here ya's actually a pretty realistic representation of what it looks like to watch the ground in front of you so you don't face plant while simultaneously trying to watch the trail ahead so you can predict the dogs movements and watch the dogs themselves for any sudden movements, it's a BLAST! This was taken about 1.5 miles into the run, a video would not have possible any earlier as they stay pretty amped for about the first mile.

Reyna has been running canicross for about 3.5years now and Jaune is just learning the ropes, he's only been out a handful of times but he's learning fast. Right now Reyna keeps tension on the line about 95-99% of the time, Jaune is at about 60-70% but getting better with each run!

Embedded videos aren't working right now so here is the link, watch at your own risk...

Canicross Fun

It's hard to believe our little puppy used to be THIS BIG

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Stay and Handling Class

We are signed up for two classes with the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy at the bronze level so I'll be tracking progress here so I can keep up.

The handling class (Cooperative Canine Care) is so I can get better at Jaune's and Reyna grooming and handling. Reyna tolerates just about anything because she is so submissive, but Jaune is quick to tell you how he feels about things, and is very touchy about his ticklish feet. We have worked with him his whole life but he's still not a fan. And even though Reyna tolerates it I feel like she deserves some training too in order to reduce stress especially as she is now middle aged and could start seeing more of the vet as she ages.

Here is Jaune's baseline video. As you can tell from his body language feet and tail are the worst. He is better about being handled lying down since that's how we've always done most of our grooming, but for vet examines he will need to be comfortable standing up so that's what we'll be working on.

The other class we are starting is Sensational Stays. Both are dovetailing well this first week with lots of self control exercises and cuing when the dog should stay in place and I will bring the treat to him and when he should move to get the treat.

It was a bit jumbled at first, but by the second session Jaune and I are both getting better at "Good" - Stay put and I'll bring the treat to you, "Yes" - Come get the treat, "Get It" - Get the treat from out there somewhere. It was more difficult than I originally anticipated at first but we are starting to get the hang of it. Reyna is actually struggling more than I thought, but I've been taking Jaune with me on errands the past few days and she tends to get cranky and jealous when I do that.

No vids from those classes yet, so to tide you over, here is David's first attempt at helping me video. These were blind hides and I didn't know how many were out there. They weren't supposed to be but David forgot where he put them and how many he put out!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Plans for the Spring

Well I have some old puppy videos of Jaune I need to get around to posting so those will be showing up randomly, and also we will be working on some handling training from an online class and some stay training also from an online class both at the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. In addition we will be working through some homework assignments from a NW class we took and fell behind in. I hope to enter Reyna in an NW3 in April and maybe finish her Rally Novice maybe, while also getting Jaune his ORTs knocked out as soon as possible and building his competition foundation for rally and obedience.

Also I'll post some canicross videos as soon as our new tripod gets's even more fun with two dogs!!!

That's our plans for the spring and summer, what are yours?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back at long last....

Well the furry baby is 20 months old and the cuter one is 15 months old...

Hard to believe how fast they grow!!...time to get back to training!

Nose work, Obedience and Rally. Time to prep Reyna for NW3 and Jaune for Rally and Obedience. I'll be working through some NW3 prep homework and Obedience fundamentals and levels training with Jaune.  Jaune has absolutely zero foundation, none zilch nada...I've been too busy with work three kids and trying to help my husband from going insane in this circus of a house! They only look peaceful in the picture!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Baby Dog & Baby Babies - one month in

We have had Jaune for a little over a month now. There is so much for him to learn about life in our house it would take several blogs to talk about and there is already tons of info on puppy raising so I will focus on the things he has learned that make it easier to have him and two kids.

Neutralize Movement
Puppies love to chase, and kids love to run it's a perfect combination...for disaster.
When puppies get aroused they jump, bite, tug, chase. When kids get upset they run, yell, flail and cry. It can very quickly spiral into at best a scary situation for either or both parties, or at worst a dangerous situation. Kids can step on puppies, puppies can bite faces.

So how do you prevent what seems like an avoidable issue?

Manage First:
Kids brains often go out their ears when a new puppy comes homes, and puppies have little to no self control at first. Manage the interactions with baby gates, leashes, and making sure that the kids remain calm when near the puppy through lots of supervision and coaching.

Train for What You Want:
Rewarded behavior happens more often, I cannot emphasize enough how important that is. Don't worry about teaching commands or a solid "stay" to prevent issues, reward the picture you want to see. Puppy is laying down, a kid walks by, the puppy doesn't get up, give him a treat. Puppy is watching you, a kid sneezes, give him a treat. For the first several days Jaune earned 100% of his daily food for being calm especially when the kids were nearby.

We also staged short training sessions where Jaune was fed kibble on his mat while the kids were coached through increasing levels of activity. At first we would have them just walk through the room, as Jaune got better, we gradually increased the movement speed and the closeness until the kids were jumping and spinning right next to the mat while Jaune ate treats. Jaune comes from service and therapy parents and had a solid foundation from the breeder before he arrived, so it only took him a couple of days, higher drive, more sensitive, or nervier dogs may take weeks.

We generalized this training to other rooms in the house and then outside, and then with no mat present. He was always on leash though just in case.

Prepare for Mistakes:
Mistakes will happen, you will push the limits too far, or maybe his threshold was lower than normal, or the kids crazier, it happens, prepare for it.

We did this by working fairly obsessively on a recall away from things, toys, Reyna, other people, bowls of food, Feather, Reyna, shoes Reyna...basically anything he wanted to get to. Then we taught the kids to stand still and cross their arms when Jaune ran up, lots of on leash practice for that one. Then we taught Jaune that crossed arms means sit or down. We also spent A LOT of time with the kids talking about how puppies bite and jump and how to stay calm and ask for help.

We have already used this emergency bail out several times...stuff happens you might as well have a contingency plan.

So how is all that working out? Here is Jaune from a week or two ago...

We will continue to reward, reward, reward for calm behavior around the kids, but you can already see he is learning that kids running and playing are white noise.

Teach a Drop it Cue
This one is easy, but it think critical to a happy child and puppy. Puppies take stuff, they chew stuff, they slobber on stuff, and shred it. Having lots of chew toys around is key, but also setting an example to the kids for how we're going to react when the puppy finds items, or toys around the house.

You could yell at him, chase him, reprimand him. Or you could teach the "treasure" cue. We try to keep the floors as picked up as possible, but you cannot always prevent the puppy from finding a playing with something that is not his. If you chase, or yell he will learn yo run away with items. Instead keep high value treats with you and if he manages to pick something up he shouldn't, say something cheerful like "what did you find? Oh it's beautiful can I see?" While you show him the treat, he drops the item, gets the treat, you pick up the item and give him another treat. He will quickly learn that whatever phrase you picked out is a cue to drop whatever is in his mouth and come to you for treats.

The best part is the kids pick up that it is no big deal, and to not panic and cry when puppy comes wandering through with their favorite stuffie, even Penelope who is only 3 responds to Jaune picking up her fluffy pony with "did you find a treasure? What a good boy!"

Maintain Good Dog Etiquette 
Kids should never, ever, ever put their faces right near a dog or puppies face. They shouldn't squeeze, hug, kiss, or grab the dog.

They, scratch, praise the puppy with adult supervision. Preferably while the puppy is receiving treats for accepting petting.

The puppy should be heavily rewarded for tolerating children in his space, and the adults need to recognize that if the puppy is aware of the children then they are in his space. For some puppies this may be two inches away, for some it may be 20 feet. Do not wait for the dog to look nervous, or excited, or for him to move towards or away from the kids, the second he notices them give him a treat and then continue to reward him as long the child is in, or moving through the area.

For puppies that may be a little nervous, this helps counter condition how they feel about kids, and for puppies that love children this teaches them that children in the area means good things from you, and children are white noise, nothing to get aroused over.

Train for the Inevitable:
We used the above method to help Jaune learn to be calm and accepting of children in his personal space. We gradually increased how close the kids could get, and have even done conditioning first with myself and Norman and later with the kids cuddling him while he receives a non stop flow of treats. Ideally he is never in that situation, but it's quite possible that a few months, a few years from now or tomorrow a children runs up and hugs him or tries to pick him up. We want to make sure that he has a solid history of reinforcement. We just have to be very careful that the kids know that it is a training session and continually reinforce safe behavior around dogs, which includes no hugging, etc.

Keep the Kids Safe
Just like the puppy needs to feel safe around the kids, they need to feel safe around him also.

- Keep all interactions on leash until he proves he can remain calm with children around
- Reiterate that puppies are baby dogs and they don't know not to bite, not to jump, not to steal toys and pull clothes. Children are sponges so repeating this over and over will help it sink in until they are telling you "it's okay he's just a baby". It helps keep kids from panicking, or getting upset if (when) there is a training or management failure and they get knocked over, bitten, or tugged on by an overly enthusiastic puppy. It's going to happen.

Teach the puppy a default sit when the child crosses his arms:
Step one - hold a treat over the puppy's nose until he sits (don't say anything) then give him the treat
- Repeat until he automatically sits every time you hold out a treat
Step two - Move quickly a very short distance (maybe just one step for a high drive puppy)
- Stop and hold out a treat, puppy sits, give him the treat
- Repeat until he is sitting as soon as you stop before the treat appears
Step three - Add additional movement to make it more exciting, the goal is for the puppy to get excited enough that having to stop and sit poses a small challenge, but not so exciting that he can't function, gets too aroused and fails.
Step four - Begin to add the cue just as you come to a stop cross your arms, puppy sits, puppy gets treat
- Repeat, repeat, repeat
Step five - Start all over but with kids doing the moving
- You still have to manage the treats to prevent the child getting mugged
- Practice with the child several times before introducing the dog to the situation. Have them walk around and then stop and cross their arms, when they get comfortable you can bring puppy into the picture
- Start off walking next to the child during the sessions
- Work up until you can walk briskly or even run together and as soon as the child stops, the puppy sits
Step six - From here you have two choices. Some people choose to let the child handle the treats. I prefer to gradually move further away but still manage the treat dispensing so the behavior chain becomes - Child moves around - puppy gets interested and follows - child stops and crosses arms - Puppy sits and then disengages from the child to come get a treat from me. Doing the second option takes all the focus off the child and really reinforces moving away from their space

At that point it's a matter of practicing, practicing, practicing so when the inevitable occurs and puppy loses self control and begins to chase, just as you are trying to get dirt out of the babies mouth, the kid will either automatically stop and cross his arms, or at least be very conditioned to responding when you yell from the porch at the two of them dashing across the yard "STOP AND CROSS YOUR ARMS". Just remember if you do not practice regularly that safety net will not be as strong when you really need it.

Moving Forward
Now that we are through the first month, and Jaune is really integrated into our household we are actually able to start using some of his kibble to teach him cues and behaviors that will make management easier, teach him to accept nail trimming, brushing, loose leash walking, going to a mat or a crate on cue, coming when called, responding to the kids cues etc...

It has been a lot of work and Jaune has not received a single piece of kibble that didn't have a lesson of some sort behind it, but we are experiencing the rewards now as Jaune chills in the backyard while the kids run and play on the swing set, or he meanders through the house as David blasts past him dressed like a space alien fighting dragon with a light saber and he doesn't pay any attention. He still steals Penelope's stuffed animals, but instead of crying or yelling, Penelope now chimes in with "Look, Jaune found a treasure, what a good puppy" and we go get a treat to trade for the pink dolphin.

Here's a couple videos just for fun...